- American Occupational Therapy Association
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Autism Center of Tulsa
- Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America
- Speech and Language Developmental Milestones
What to expect at your first appointment for Speech Therapy Services:
The evaluation will usually include a standardized test, observation through play, medical history information, and/or a parent report. Before your child’s evaluation, you will be given a series of documents to complete, but it’s also a good idea to create a list of your concerns or questions you have and bring it with you. In the moment, it’s easy to forget what you intended to ask!
At least one parent needs to be in the room with your child and the therapist during the first speech therapy appointment, and while we believe that all family members can play a role in helping children develop, it’s important that siblings aren’t present during the evaluation. The first speech therapy appointment can take up to two hours, but if yours doesn’t, consider yourself lucky! It takes time for some children to “warm up” to the therapist.
What Happens During the First Speech Therapy Appointment
During the child’s first visit the therapist will ask for an overview of your child’s strengthens and weaknesses.
Be prepared to discuss your concerns regarding your child’s speech, language, social, and/or feeding difficulties. Other valuable information to bring with you includes birth/delivery history and the ages your child reached different developmental milestones in the areas of physical, social, and language skills, and to be ready to talk about your child’s everyday routine.
Once patient history and information have been gathered, the therapist will begin an assessment of the child.
To the child, it will seem like play – the therapist will play with the child, observe the child playing both independently and with you, and will compare the child’s abilities with a standardized assessment. Often, it may seem as if the therapist is only playing, but in reality, the therapist is working to identify specific language and/or speech targets.
A standardized assessment is an exam that compares the child’s speech and language skills to other children in her age range.
Based on the score the child receives, the therapist will then be able to conclude whether or not the child demonstrates a need for speech therapy. In some cases, the child is unable to comply with the standardized assessment, and in that case, the speech therapist will use an informal assessment to establish an appropriate plan of care.
If speech therapy is recommended,
the therapist and family will discuss the findings of the assessment and goals and expectations for the child’s treatment plan. The actual content of speech therapy sessions varies widely from patient to patient due to differing abilities and goals, but most patients will visit the clinic one to two times per week for about an hour. The only thing left then is getting on the schedule!
What to expect at the first occupational therapy appointment
The first appointment is the evaluation and parent interview. Parents will be asked to fill out a caregiver questionnaire and sensorimotor history.
Many times the evaluation and the treatment itself will look and feel like play to the child. All the while, the therapist is making clinical observations of muscle tone, postural control, reflex integration, motor planning, gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing, ocular motility, and other functions related to neurological and motor development. Various standardized tests may be administered depending on the age of the child.
Following the evaluation, the therapist writes up a report of the findings and develops a plan of care with treatment goals set to meet the individual needs of your child. A parent conference is complet ed with the parents and the therapist. The parent conference is a very essential part of the entire therapy process. The purpose of the parent conference is to:
- Explain the process of therapy and answer questions about how it all works
- To review the results and explain the plan of care and to educate the parents about their child’s specific profile and needs
- To discuss and identify the parent’ s goals for therapy
- To provide initial home exercise/activity recommendations